« AnteriorContinua »
guage to give intelligence where they are driving. In an instant my coachman took the wink to pursue; and the lady's driver gave the hint that he was going through Long-acre towards St. James : while he whipped up James-street, we drove for King-street, to save the pass at St. Martin's lane. The coachmen took care to meet, jostle, and threaten each other for way, and be entangled at the end of Newport-street and Long-acre. The fright, you must believe, brought down the lady's coach door, and obliged her, with her mask off, to inquire into the bustle when she sees the man she would avoid. The tackle of the coach-window is so bad she cannot draw it up again, and she drives on some time wholly discovered, and sometimes half escaped, according to the accident of carriages in her way.
One of these ladies keeps her seat in a hackney-coach, as well as the best rider does on a managed horse. The laced shoe on her left foot, with a careless gesture, just appearing on the opposite cushion, held her both firm, and in a proper attitude to receive the next jolt.
As she was an excellent coach-woman, many were the glances at each other which we had for an hour and an half, in all parts of the town, by the skill of our drivers ; till at last my lady was conveniently lost, with notice from her coachman to ours to make off, and he should hear where she went. This chase was now at an end; and the fellow who drove her came to us, and discovered that he was ordered to come again in an hour, for that she was a silk-worm. I was surprised with this phrase, but found it was a cant among the hackney fraternity for their best customers, women who ramble twice or thrice a week from shop to shop, to turn over all the goods in town
without buying any thing. The silk-worms are, it seems, indulged by the tradesinen; for, though they never buy, they are ever talking of new silks, laces, and ribbons, and serve the owners in getting them customers, as their common dunners do in making them pay.
The day of people of fashion began now to break, and carts and hacks were mingled with equipages of show and vanity; when I resolved to walk it, out of cheapness; but my unhappy curiosity is such, that I find it always my interest to take coach; for some odd adventure among beggars, ballad-singers, or the like, detains and throws me into expense. It happened so immediately; for at the corner of Warwick-street, as I was listening to a new ballad, a ragged rascal, a beggur who knew me, came up to me, and began to turn the eyes of the good company upon me, by telling me he was'extremely poor, and should die in the street for want of drink, except I immediately would have the charity to give him six-pence to go into the next ale-house and save his life. He urged, with a melancholy face, that all his family had died of thirst. All the mob have humour, and two or three began to take the jest; by which Mr. Sturdy carried his point, and let me sneak off
to a coach. As I drove along, it was a pleasing | reflection to see the world so prettily checkered
since I left Richmond, and the scene still filling with children of a new hour. This satisfaction increased as I moved towards the city; and gay signs, well-disposed streets, magnificent public structures, and wealthy shops adorned with contended faces, made the joy still rising till we came into the centre of the city, and centre of the world of trade, the Exchange of London. As other men in the crowds about me were pleased with their
hopes and bargains, I found my account in observing them, in attention to their several interests. 1, indeed, looked upon myself as the richest man that walked the Exchange that day; for my beneyolence made me share the gains of every
bargain that was made. It was not the least of my satisfaction in my survey, to go up stairs, and pass the shops of agreeable females: to observe so many pretty hands busy in the folding of ribbons, and the utmost eagerness of agreeable faces in the sale of patches, pins, and wires, on each side of the counters, was an amusement in which I could longer have indulged myself, had not the clear creatures called to me, to ask what I wanted, when I could not answer, only "To look at you.' I went to one of the windows which opened to the arca below, where all the several voices lost their distinction, and rose up in a confused humming; which created in me reflection that could not come into the mind of any but of one a little too studious; for I said to myself with a kind of pun in thought, What nonsense is all the hurry of this world to those who are above it?' In these, or not much wiser thoughts, I had liked to have lost my place at the chop-house, where every man, according to the natural bashfulness or sullenness of our nation, eats in a public room a mess of broth, or chop of meat, in dumb silence, as ifthey had no pretence to speak to cach other on the foot of being men, except they were of each other's acquaintance.
I went afterwards to Robin's, and saw people, who had dined with me at the five-penny ordinary just before, give bills for the value of large estates; and could not but behold with great pleasure, property lodged in, and transferred in a moment from, such as would never be masters of
half as much as is seemingly in them, and given from them, every day they live. But before five in the afternoon I left the city, came to my como mon scene of Covent-garden, and passed the evening at Wills in attending the discourses of several sets of people, who relieved each other within my hearing on the subjects of cards, dice, love, learning, and politics. The last subject kept me till I heard the streets in the possession of the bell-man, who had now the world to himself, and cry'd · Past two o'clock.' This roused me from my seat; and I went to my lodgings, led by a light, whom I put into the discourse of his private ceconomy, and made him give me an account of the charge, hazard, profit, and loss of a family that depended upon a link, with a design to end my trivial day with the generosity of six-pence instead of a third part of that sum,
When I came to my chambers, I writ down these minutes; but was at a loss what instruction I should propose to my reader from the enumeration of so many insignificant matters and occurrences; and I thought it of great use, if they could learn with me to keep their minds open to gratification, and ready to receive it from any thing it meets with. This one circumstance will make every face you see give you the satisfaction you now take in beholding that of a friend; will make every object a pleasing one; will make all the good which arrives to any man, an increase of happiness to yourself.
No. 455. TUESDAY, AUGUST 12, 1712.
-Ego apis Matince
HOR: 2 Od. iv. 27.
Like the laborious bee,
The following letters have in them reflections which will seem of importance both to the learned world and to domestic life. There is in the first an allegory so well carried on, that it cannot but be very pleasing to those who have a taste of good writing: and the other billets may have their use in common life.
"As I walked the other day in a fine garden, and observed the great variety of improvements in plants and flowers, beyond what they otherwise would have been, I was naturally led into a reflection upon the advantages of education, or modern culture : how many good qualities in the mind are lost, for want of the like due care in nursing and skilfully managing them ; how many virtues are choked by the multitude of weeds which are suffered to grow amung them; how excellent parts are often starved and useless, by being planted in a wrong soil; and how very seldom do these moral seeds produce the noble